family, The

family, The

The basic social unit in Israel during the biblical period. Most of the authority in the nuclear family belonged to the father, who exercised legal control over his children and wife, although his power was not absolute (Exod 21:7-11; Deut 21:15-21). The extended family (the “father’s house”) was composed of two or more nuclear families that claimed descent from the same ancestor. The extended family acted as a corporate entity and was granted certain legal rights in order to maintain its solidarity. Several extended families were sometimes linked together to form a clan. Clan members usually lived in the same geographical area and sometimes made up an entire village (Judg 18:11-13). The family metaphor was extended beyond the clan to include the tribe and the nation of Israel itself, so that the whole people could be seen as one enormous family represented by a complex segmented or branched genealogy (Gen 46:8-27; Num 26:5-62; 1Chr 1-9). NT views of the family are somewhat different from those found in the OT. On the one hand, some of Jesus’s sayings subordinate family loyalty to loyalty to the gospel (Matt 10:34-39; Matt 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 12:49-53). On the other hand, Jesus quoted approvingly the command to honor parents and thus supported the traditional Jewish family structure (Matt 19:16-22; Luke 18:18-30). In the early church support of one’s family was seen as a virtue (1Tim 5:8), but the traditional view of family was transformed by seeing the Christian community as a new family (Gal 6:10; Eph 2:19).

Exod 21:7-11

7When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.8If she does not please her master, who designated her for himself, then h ... View more

Deut 21:15-21

The Right of the Firstborn
15If a man has two wives, one of them loved and the other disliked, and if both the loved and the disliked have borne him sons, the f ... View more

Judg 18:11-13

11Six hundred men of the Danite clan, armed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol,12and went up and encamped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. On this a ... View more

Gen 46:8-27

8Now these are the names of the Israelites, Jacob and his offspring, who came to Egypt. Reuben, Jacob's firstborn,9and the children of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, He ... View more

Num 26:5-62

5Reuben, the firstborn of Israel. The descendants of Reuben: of Hanoch, the clan of the Hanochites; of Pallu, the clan of the Palluites;6of Hezron, the clan of ... View more

1Chr 1-9

From Adam to Abraham
1Adam, Seth, Enosh;2Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared;3Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech;4Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.5The descendants of Japheth: Gomer, Ma ... View more

Matt 10:34-39

Not Peace, but a Sword
34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.35For I have come to set a man ... View more

Matt 12:46-50

The True Kindred of Jesus
46While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him.47Someone told ... View more

Mark 3:31-35

The True Kindred of Jesus
31Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him.32A crowd was sitting around him; and t ... View more

Luke 12:49-53

Jesus the Cause of Division
49“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!50I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what ... View more

Matt 19:16-22

The Rich Young Man
16Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”17And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about ... View more

Luke 18:18-30

The Rich Ruler
18A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”19Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good ... View more

1Tim 5:8

8And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Gal 6:10

10So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

Eph 2:19

19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God,

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